What is the best way to tackle the TOEFL reading section?
There is no better practice for the TOEFL (reading) than reading newspapers, articles online, or academic novels in English on a daily basis. Because the TOEFL does not target as many subtle details as the SAT reading section, I suggest making reading a daily habit in addition to frequently completing practice tests. This will allow students to grasp the main points of different texts as well as make them quicker and more efficient readers. Lastly, it is a great way to train focus, an issue that is less widespread but must be addressed. It can be difficult for non-native speakers to maintain focus while reading dense blocks of writing, and by training the mind to ingest greater amounts of information, students will be able to keep concentrated and alert throughout the duration of the test.
Although not native, I am fluent in Spanish and live in Spain, should I still study for the SAT II Spanish test?
Performing well on the SAT II language test takes much more than being a fluent speaker in a language. Although being fluent is advantageous, it can also lead to overconfidence and in turn lead to the overlooking of crucial aspects of the test. Intermediate Spanish speakers may need to dedicate extra time to reading foreign newspapers or novels to grasp overarching concepts and sentence structures, but fluent Spanish speakers must study as well, particularly focusing on areas such as grammar. The learning process is often reversed for, say, international students living in Spain, where they to learn how to speak Spanish before they learn how to write in it. Thus, these students lack a grammatical foundation that can make or break their score on the SAT II language test. For this reason, it is vital that students of all levels study and familiarise themselves with the test, making sure to target weaknesses in addition to boosting strengths.
How do I know what study skills are best for me?
Apart from the common "trial and error" method to test out which study skills work best for you, the best way to discover your most effective study skills is by taking a closer look at what kind of learner you are. Everyone learns differently. Some students are great at handling visuals, while others are better with sounds. Some are a mixture of both. As a synaesthete, I have always had an implicit attachment to colors and visuals, and therefore find that using diagrams and color-coded notes are the best way to help understand and soak up knowledge. The key is to uncover the type of learner you are and then apply the corresponding study skills to help reach your full potential.